WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Just when it appeared that the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins would get through the second to last game of the season against the Worcester Sharks without incident, Warren Peters was cross-checked in the back.
With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Peters gained the puck in the neutral zone during a penalty kill and was hit in the back by Worcester’s Sena Acolatse.
Referee Jean Hebert didn’t call a penalty, and seconds later the Sharks scored to go up 2-1 en route to a 4-2 win on Friday.
That lack of a call and the subsequent Worcester goal didn’t sit well with the Penguins.
On the next shift, Bobby Farnham drilled Worcester’s Eriah Hayes into the boards, nearly sparking a line brawl that resulted in four fighting majors and three game misconducts.
It was a response that head coach John Hynes didn’t mind seeing, even though his team has already clinched a playoff spot.
“Really liked it,” Hynes said. “You look at Al Grant stepping in there when Farnham got jumped by three players. He did a great job. Bobby did a great job. That’s what we’re about – team toughness.”
Farnham and Grant, who was involved in a secondary altercation, were done for the night, but the Penguins weren’t.
Midway through the period, Brian Dumoulin skated into the slot and launched a wrister on goaltender Alex Stalock, who allowed a rebound to Riley Holzapfel at the corner who buried the puck for his 21st goal of the year.
That tied things up at 2-2, and the goal was another response that sat well with Hynes.
“That was part of the emotion we had,” he said.
With the intensity ramped up, Hynes didn’t like what happened next, especially when his team is supposed to be fine-tuning their game in preparation for the postseason.
With the Penguins on a power play with less than three minutes to play, the Penguins allowed two turnovers at the blueline – the second of which sprung the Sharks on a two-on-one breakaway that culminated with the game-winning shorthanded goal by Freddie Hamilton.
Hamilton also scored into the empty net a minute later to ice the 4-2 win.
But never mind the loss. Is this the kind of game the Penguins wanted as they finish out the regular season in anticipation of a long playoff run? A game featuring plenty of hard hits and fights?
According to Peters, it’s the style the Penguins have played all year, and it’s one that they’ve been successful with.
“I think we’re alright,” Peters said. “It’s a style of game we’ve consistently been a part of. Not surprised it turns out that way.”
- The Penguins close out the regular season tonight against the Manchester Monarchs at home.
- LW Steve MacIntyre was recalled to Pittsburgh before Friday’s game. It was his first call-up to the NHL club this season.
- G Scott Darling, D Peter Merth, D Cody Wild, C Chris Barton, RW Christiaan Minella, LW Chris Collins, LW Anton Zlobin and RW Matia Marcantuoni were scratched for the Penguins.
- At the start of the third period the crowd of 7,995 cheered loudly when public address announcer Bobby Day announced that the second suspect in the Boston marathon bombing was apprehended.
- Brian Gibbons, who is from Braintree, just outside of Boston, said the events occurring near his hometown on Friday kept him glued to the television and in close contact with family members. “Me and (Brian) Dumoulin were watching the TV and we recognized some of the places. It was a little scary,” Gibbons said. “My brother works in Boston and he had to stay out of the city today. But they got the guy and I’m sure everyone is relieved back home. Hopefully things will get back to normal now.”
- Derek Nesbitt played in his first game as a Penguin – and his first with an Eastern Conference team, and said the physical play is something he kind of expected. “It’s what you hear about (with Eastern Conference games). I don’t know if it’s standard or not, but apparently it is,” Nesbitt said.
- Adam Payerl’s goal in the first period was his first since Jan. 26 – a span of 32 games.
Worcester 2 Penguins 4
Worcester 1 0 3 — 4
Penguins 1 0 1 — 2
Scoring – 1. WBS, Adam Payerl 3 (Farnham, Gibbons) 3:08. 2. WOR, Rylan Schwartz 1 (Comrie, Scheidl) 14:39. Penalties – WOR, Demelo (hooking) :40; WBS, Payerl (high-sticking) 7:50; WOR, Doherty (roughing – double minor) 16:16; WBS, Farnham (goaltender interference, roughing) 16:16.
Scoring – None. Penalties – WOR, Acolatse (tripping) 2:46; WBS, Dumoulin (roughing) 12:14.
Scoring – 3. WOR, Adam Comrie 3 (Urban, Stalberg) power play 6:00. 4. WBS, Riley Holzapfel 21 (Dumoulin, Smith) 12:56. 5. WOR, Freddie Hamilton 12 (Comrie) shorthanded 18:06. 6. WOR, Freddie Hamilton 13 (Demelo) empty net, shorthanded 19:02. Penalties – WOR, Doherty (interference) 3:24; WBS, Gibbons (goaltender interference) 5:00; WOR, Doherty (instigating, fighting, misconduct) 6:19; WOR, Petrecki (fighting, game misconduct) 6:19; WBS, Farnham (boarding major, fighting, game misconduct) 6:19; WBS, Grant (fighting, game misconduct) 6:19; WOR, Tarasov (interference) 8:29; WOR, Schwartz (roughing) 12:13; WBS, Kolarik (roughing) 12:13; WOR, Urban (cross-checking) 17:08
Shots on goal
Worcester – 9-7-9-25
Penguins – 6-7-9-22
Worcester – 1 of 5
Penguins – 0 of 4
Worcester – Alex Stalock 17-16-3 (20 saves – 22 shots)
Penguins – Jeff Zatkoff 26-20-0 (21-24)
Worcester – G Alex Stalock, D Dylan Demelo, D Adam Comrie, LW Lane Scheidl, C Rylan Schwartz, RW James Livingston
Penguins – G Jeff Zatkoff, D Joey Mormina, D Philip Samuelsson, LW Bobby Farnham, C Zach Sill, RW Jayson Megna
1. WOR, Freddie Hamilton (two goals) 2. WOR, Adam Comrie (goal, two assists) 3. WBS, Riley Holzapfel (goal)
Referee – Jean Hebert. Linesmen – Tom George, Scott Pomento
Attendance – 7,995